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Crime and Punishment at Penn State Print E-mail
By Brad Miner   
Saturday, 12 November 2011

Author’s Note: The crimes described below are stated frankly. Those who do not wish to read details about sexual assaults are cautioned.

Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is Roman Catholic and a regular churchgoer, not a nominal believer. Surely, he paid attention to the scandals that have roiled the Church in recent years. And you might suppose he learned something about how to respond to allegations about the sexual assault of children. But apparently not.

The lesson: sexual predators cease their criminal abuse only when caught, tried, convicted, and imprisoned. This is the single understanding to be applied in all places at all times and, by definition, in every profession. And against every pedophile.

Encomia for Mr. Paterno have filled airways, print media, and the Internet over the last few days. When it was announced that he had been fired, Penn State students took to the streets to demonstrate their affection for him and vent their outrage at the university’s decision to dismiss him in the wake of the child-rape scandal involving his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. The demonstration descended into violence. Students were filmed grinning, laughing, and cheering as a satellite television truck was overturned. To his credit, Coach Paterno spoke to students who gathered outside his home and urged them to stay calm and return to their dorms – and study.

But let’s review the pattern of criminality that occurred at PSU. Jerry Sandusky began coaching with Mr. Paterno in 1969. Eight years later, Sandusky founded a charity, Second Mile, dedicated to helping children from dysfunctional families. A grand jury has determined that Sandusky serially abused boys who came to Second Mile – there are no allegations involving girls – which has now led to “40 criminal counts, accusing him of serial sex abuse of minors.” Nota bene: Under Pennsylvania law, “a defendant is strictly liable for the offense of rape, a felony of the first degree, when the complainant is 12 or younger.”

The questions upon which Coach Paterno’s fate (and that of various others at Penn State) has rested are familiar: What and when did he learn about Sandusky’s crimes?

In 1998, the mother of an 11-year-old called police to say her son had returned with wet hair from a Second Mile outing. The mother had a conversation with Sandusky that was monitored by police. ESPN quotes from one officer’s deposition:

Sandusky says he has showered with other boys and [the victim’s] mother tries to make Sandusky promise never to shower with a boy again but he will not. At the end of [a] second conversation, after Sandusky is told he cannot see [the victim] anymore . . . Sandusky says, “I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”
No charges were brought.


Jerry Sandusky last week: finally in custody

Although Sandusky retired from coaching in 1999, he continued to have access to the university’s athletic facilities. In 2000, a janitor saw him in a shower at the Lasch Football Building fellating a pre-teen boy. The janitor reported the incident to his superiors, but no official complaint was lodged.

Then in 2002 – and this is the incident in the news this week – then graduate-assistant coach, Mike McQueary, saw Sandusky in the same shower area having anal intercourse with a 10-year-old, which is to say: Sandusky was raping the child. McQueary did not attempt to intervene or call the police. Instead he called his father, who advised him to say nothing to anybody. But the next morning father and son visited Coach Paterno, and Mike McQueary described to him – in detail – what he’d seen.

Paterno chose to call PSU’s athletic director.

Several weeks later, McQueary was interviewed by the athletic director and another PSU official (both of whom have been fired by PSU and indicted), and they did report the matter – not to the police but to Second Mile. However, PSU forced Sandusky to surrender his locker-room keys.

Sandusky retired from Second Mile in 2010 – eight years after the crime McQueary witnessed. Much additional criminal activity by Sandusky happened during this period. A new police investigation began in 2009, and a grand jury was convened in March of this year. Sandusky was arrested on November 5.

Joe Paterno won more football games than any other college coach. He rarely if ever endured the kind of recruiting or other scandals that, for instance, recently forced the resignation of Ohio State’s Jim Tressel. Tressel fell victim to his own reluctance to report niggling violations of NCAA rules governing “payments” to players (in this case: trading memorabilia for tattoos). The Miami Hurricane football program has been so miscreant that an old joke says the team picture has to be taken twice – once from the front and then from the side. Meanwhile (as ESPN reports), “Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly says Paterno is not a target of the investigation into how [PSU] handled the accusations.”

What did he know and when did he know it?

He knew enough, and he knew it at least a decade ago. He knew an innocent boy had been viciously raped. (Can we, please, stop referring to Sandusky’s crimes as sexual abuse?) Moreover, Paterno is a man who understands the importance of good character, and often speaks about it, which is why he deserved to be fired. He may be guilty of withholding evidence (if, for instance, he knew of the 2000 shower assault). But for now that is pure speculation, although he has hired an attorney. Mr. McQueary is in protective custody because of threats on his life.

My father joined Ohio State’s Faculty Council several years after it had refused to allow the Buckeyes – then ranked #1 – to play in the 1962 Rose Bowl. This may have been the last time any American university asserted its core mission against the Big Sport juggernaut. Now they can’t. Football and basketball coaches make much more money and, therefore, command more power than most college presidents. Many believe they are a law unto themselves. The Program above all.

You’d hope that a Catholic coach would not fall afoul of this sickening replay of Original Sin, especially a real Catholic. But that was not the case at Penn State.

 
Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, a senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and a board member of Aid to the Church In Need USA. One of his books, The Compleat Gentleman, was published in a revised edition in 2009.
 
 
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.
   

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Comments (26)Add Comment
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written by James, November 12, 2011
"Can we, please, stop referring to Sandusky’s crimes as sexual abuse?"

This is music to my ears!
I'm constantly annoyed at the use of the word, 'abuse'. It makes the assumption that it's merely the misuse of persons - because people are to be used anyway - and it's just a wrong way to use them.

JPII got it right in that first chapter of his, 'Love and Responsibility'.
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written by Manfred, November 12, 2011
Thank you for a well researched and well laid out article on an increasingly sordid subject, Brad. It is now coming to light that: 1. That Sandusky was providing boys for the pleasure of PSU big donors, 2. when Sandusky retired from PSU in 1999, it was with the understanding that his prior transgressions would simply be broomed under the rug and not reported. He still had access to the facilities. Paterno as a Catholic joins the Cuomos, Biden, Sebelius, Pelosi the Kennedys et al. Yes he is and he is the same as most Catholics I meet every day. Their lives are compartmentalized which is why they are referred to as "cafeteria Catholics".No serious Catholic takes them seriously. I met them in college, I met them in the Army and I have met them in business. Frankly, I often prefer working with Evangelicals, Mormons and serious Jews. J. Edgar Hoover hired many Mormon F.B.I. agents. I would not be surprised from their names if many of the players in this sordid tale were Catholic. Thanks again for bringing this matter to the fore.
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written by Grump, November 12, 2011
This was a case of actions and inactions. For all the good Paterno did, he failed to act when it counted most and was complicit in the coverup along with the other higher-ups. In a small, tight-knit isolated town such as State College, Pa., rumors and gossip are rife and awareness or suspicions of Sandusky's crimes had to be widely known. They were hoping it would all go away with time. The victims of such crimes rarely if ever step forward.

Where was law enforcement for the past 15 years when clues first surfaced? The DA investigating the case mysteriously disappeared in 2005 (a story that has been underplayed), and all the red flags were ignored including Sandusky's "retirement" in 1999 at the still young age of 55. He was in line to be head coach but suddenly decides to pack it in? Doesn't compute.

Furthermore, these were homosexual acts -- an angle totally missing from mainstream media reports -- which deserves to be explored further. When Catholic priests were charged with "sexual abuse," the media constantly honed in on celibacy as a possible cause of their behavior. Is it any wonder we are concerned about homosexuals being teachers, scout leaders and mentors of young boys?

This sickening episode at Penn State stains Paterno permanently and will be mentioned in the first paragraph of his obituary.

As for the university, it will takes years to repair some of the damage but it will forever be tarnished by the actions and inactions of a small group of enablers -- all of whom now profess their innocence.

One last note on Paterno: This is what happens when men make gods of men. Now at 84, he lawyers up and hires a slick PR firm to shield him from the flurry of inevitable lawsuits. In the end only the ambulance chasers will be happy.
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written by Sharon, November 12, 2011
Brad, great article on a horrendous subject. I think it's important for all of us to think about what happened here, as well as what happened in the Church scandals. You think that if you knew a man raped children, you'd do something to stop it, yet NO ONE did the only truly right thing, which obviously was to call the police. Occasionally it was "reported" to someone or other, but the one who reported the attack apparently never checked to see whether anything was actually done about it. Why? What is it about child sex abuse, even rape, that apparently decent people drop the ball on it? Is it because the horror of it makes you not believe your own eyes? Is it because the perpetrators are often respected individuals, making you think they couldn't possibly do something so stupid again, especially when they know you know? Is it because you never want to think about it again, and if you go to the police you will have to mentally relive the trauma of what you've witnessed? Obviously the witness's trauma is nothing compared to the child's, but it must be traumatic to see such a thing. Is it because you don't want your name in a news article that repeatedly uses the words "child rape"? Is it because we simply cannot relate to the crime and don't really believe something so awful would continue on its own?

You are right, pedophiles must be stopped, immediately, by the system. The immediate course of action HAS to be a call to the police. Reporting someone to his supervisors at best will only buy the rapist more time to continue his evil behavior while everyone dithers about what to do about him. At worst, as in Penn State, it will allow the man to continue destroying lives for years and years.

God help the innocent children of the world.
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written by Lauri Friesen, November 12, 2011
I am a Canadian woman, so have no understanding of the thrall in which Americans are held by college football. I also have no experience of the athletic facilities, especially showers, available to athletes and others at these colleges. And one question that I have, which has not yet been raised in media reports or pundit commentary, is why would Sandusky be so insouciant about behaving sexually in what seems to be an at least semi-public area, namely, the college football team's shower rooms? What do people get up to in those places that would make Sandusky think he need not worry about hiding what he is doing? Very disturbing context, I think
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written by Brad Miner, November 12, 2011
Dear Ms. Friesen: You ask a very pertinent question regarding Sandusky's insouciance, his recklessness. I suppose the answer should come from a shrink, but: a) I suspect nobody else used those showers at PSU for sexual activity; b) from years of experience Sandusky thought he knew when the area was likely to be deserted (he was wrong at least twice); and c) if you consider his comments in the deposition I quote in the column, you see there is a strong element of self-hatred at work, which may mean he actually hoped to be caught and stopped.
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written by Trish, November 12, 2011
What I want to know is why, after the mother of the 11-year-old called the police in 1998, were there no charges pressed? Did the mother not press charges? And if that's the case, why on earth not? Really? We're just going to stop at asking him nicely over the phone to stop the creepy showering with boys? Or was there nothing considered criminal regarding the incident, and thus charges could not be pressed? If that's the case, why wasn't totally inappropriate conduct with a minor considered criminal? If charges had been pressed in 1998, perhaps the remaining horrible things could have been prevented.
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written by Brad Minerl, November 12, 2011
Dear Trish: Another apposite set of questions. I suspect that soon — after the collective mourning over the fall of Coach Paterno has passed — there will be a kind of awakening in central PA, which — we hope — will lead to more dismissals in the several polices departments involved and at Penn State. We hear a lot of palaver these days about "zero tolerance," and it's time the notion was absolutely embraced with regard to crimes such as these. More broadly, the almost Mafia-style shielding of Big Sports has to end all across the U.S.
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written by Manfred, November 12, 2011
"This is what happens when men make gods of men". Grump, go to the head of the class! You have just described the anthropocentrism (man-centeredness) of the spirit of Vatican II. This is the main criticism of the Novus Ordo Mass. As we believe, so do we worship. We have replaced God with man. If the people of this country have been willing to remove God from the pregnancy-birth process by murdering 53 million of their children in utero, what could a dozen ten year old boys matter? We have have become pragmatic and pagan and we cannot stand it when the evidence of this obtrudes into our lives.
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written by Quaecumque Vera, November 12, 2011
Peter Maurin wrote some 70 years ago that the Catholic Church was the last moral security in the world. Why are we ( our present civilization such as it is) shocked by these events and on what basis do we claim that something wrong has been done? Unless the foundations of thought and life are restored expect the nihilism of our time given to us by intellectuals acting against reason to yield horrors as great and greater than these.
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written by Mary Martin , November 12, 2011
Going to church every Sunday and TALKING about good character does NOT make a person a good Catholic or define if someone is a good "believer". We BELIEVE as we LIVE Paterno's action or in this case sin by omission. Jesus told us the greatest Commandement was to love God above all things and love your NEIGHBOR as yourself. If it were Paterno's child being raped would he want it to be brushed under the carpet so it could happen over and over again. Our country has replaced God with all sorts of things such as sports, fame, money, power. That's what this is all about. Sadly we can expect to see much more child rape and abuse in the future.
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written by Louise, November 13, 2011
How timely Jesus's question for Mr. Paterno: "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

It must be painful to have to contemplate that question at the age of 84.
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written by Martin Cothran, November 13, 2011
Brad,

You imply here that Paterno knew about the 1998 charges. Do you have evidence for this? You also do not mention that the police investigation into the charges at the time exonerated Sandusky. So even if Paterno had known about the investigation, how do you think the findings might have affected his view on the matter?

This post seems to suggest that Paterno knew Sandusky's history of abuse. Can you provide any proof that Paterno knew anything other that the one accusation from his assistant coach in 2002? The grand jury report certainly doesn't bear this out.

In addition, you say, "Paterno chose to call PSU’s athletic director," as if that is not what he was supposed to do. You need to read the relevant Pennsylvania law: that's exactly what it REQUIRES him to do.

He may indeed have been morally obligated to do more, but to say that Paterno committed some egregious moral blunder seems to me to read back onto the situation at the time all that we now know, most of which almost certainly Paterno did not know.
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written by Brad Miner, November 13, 2011
Mr. Cothran: You list a number of instances you characterize as implications, whereas it seems to me they are inferences.

You hit the right note in the first sentence of the final paragraph of your comment (and it's the gist of my argument): he had a moral obligation.

If a neighbor came to you to say another neighbor was raping a boy in your garage, would you call your contractor? No. You'd call the cops.
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written by Tom Brennan, November 14, 2011
I am loath to rush to further judgement on Joe Paterno. If we can be patient, we will learn "who knew

what when", and unless barred by 5th amendment concerns, we will hear some of it from Joe himself,

especially his explanation of why he failed to act more than he did.

Joe's failure was, in this one instance, to live up to his own high standards. There's an excellent piece by Joe Posnanski on si.com; Posnanski has been working on a biography about Paterno, and, while he says that Joe was at fault for not doing more and that he should have been fired, that the way that this was handled by the media (piling on) and the university (how they carried it out) has been disgraceful.

His summary of JoePa? "Joe Paterno has lived a profoundly decent life."

And Posnanski adds this "But I will say that I am sickened, absolutely sickened, that some of those [hundreds of] people whose lives were fundamentally inspired and galvanized by Joe Paterno have not stepped forward to stand up for him this week, have stood back and allowed him to be painted as an inhuman monster who was only interested in his legacy, even at the cost of the most heinous crimes against children imaginable."

And this is where we come back to the Catholic Thing. We've been down this road before. We know what motivates a "zero tolerance policy" where sound judgement is suspended and heads must roll, and quickly, to satisfy the clamoring crowds: "Because they were afraid. ... A kind word for Joe Paterno in this storm is taken by many as a pro vote for a child molester."

One of the outstanding virtues emphasized by the Paterno organization is loyalty; look at how many decades JoePa served, Tom Bradley served, McQuery served - and Sandusky served. I believe that this emphasis is what blinded Joe to the larger, external issue - of the children. This is not an excuse, but it is an explanation. As Posnanski says, Joe is a complex man, and neither saint nor villian.

What is a Real Catholic to think about all this? Besides how overwhelmingly sad it all is - the betrayal, the molestations, the sins of omission, the freudenschade? What about praying for those who do us harm? Many men in Sandusky's position kill themselves; is there any worse outcome than that a man goes to hell for his sins, without an opportunity to seek forgiveness and redemption? And to deny his victims some closure and healing through this? Are the Real Catholics here praying for Sandusky?

And I'd like to close with a personal comment on JoePa and legacy: when we lived in State College, I taught 9th grade CCD, and was assigned one of the Paterno boys (Scott, I think). Most of you probably know from direct personal experience how much 9th graders want to be there, or how unimportant they feel it is, and how they act accordingly. And so I dreaded it: the son of the Great Man was sure to be an entitled, chip-on-his-shoulder slacker/brat. But he was, it turned out, one of the very best students I ever had: engaged, interested, well-prepared, and polite. Some men "do" legacy for the cameras, for show; there is no more difficult, more important, or more evadable legacy than to leave well raised children. For Joe and Sue Paterno, the appearance is also the reality. Real. And Catholic.
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written by Richard A, November 14, 2011
What bothers me about Mr. McQueary is this, and even you, Mr. Miner, got this part wrong in your last statement above.

"If a neighbor came to you to say another neighbor was raping a boy in your garage, would you call your contractor? No. You'd call the cops."

No, if the neighbor is a 28-year-old man (such as McQueary was in 2002), he should be knocking on your door, saying, "I just incapacitated someone who was raping a boy in your garage. I had to use your garden hose to tie him up. Please call the cops."
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written by Just a girl in the northwest, November 15, 2011
For SOME people who have been raped, they choose to use the term "sexually assaulted." For whatever reason, the term "raped" can make a person feel powerless and like a victim- every time they use/hear the word. The term "sexually assaulted" feels like you have "overcome" it (moved on, are healing, etc), are in more of a victor (instead of victim) role, and it's just more empowering. I'm having trouble putting this into words, but hopefully you get it. I don't like to say I was raped - I prefer to say I was sexually assaulted. The healing process was easier to get thru when I changed the term. To each their own. This is what works for ME.

I pray for God's will to be done in this situation, and healing for all those effected. Regardless of what has happened to me, had I been the one to walk in and witness this, I would have beat him within an inch of his life (I won't share how I *really* feel about this). I don't get how anyone can turn their back on such a crime...especially against innocent children?! What on earth is wrong with people?!?! I hope there's a special place in hell for abusers and those who turn their back on it, allowing it to continue.
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written by anon, November 15, 2011
Mr.Miner,

Thank you for a great piece. I have to think that a big part of this drama is the absolute worship people have for sports these days. You allude to it in your essay. I hope, among other things, that Catholics will wake up to the idolatrous pursuit of sports that goes on in our culture. Including our football techs that pretend to be universities.

That so many waste so much time on such trivia surely will not go well for us at our particular judgement.
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written by Judy Paulk, November 15, 2011
I, too, was sexually assaulted. Not once, but three times at the ages of 9, 24, and 49. Prayerfully, Sandusky will never feel the privilege of freedom again. His crimes will stay, and have stayed, with his victims for life. The can learn to have a good and functional life through the help of therapy. Coaches are in a position of power and are able to instill fear in their charges. Thence, they get away with it for a time, if not for years. The truth comes out eventually. My emapthy goes out to all of those who looked up to this man.
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written by Tim in VA, November 16, 2011
Mr. Brennan - above - thank you!

As the father of three sons, I can't help but be appalled by the tragedy that's still playing out at Penn State. I think that it's probably good, though sad, that Joe Paterno has been relieved of his duties as coach. But the hue and cry - the vindictiveness and schaudenfreude - are even sadder.

Mr. Sandusky is by all appearances a criminal and a very sick man. On the evidence, he did horrible things and hurt a lot of people. But in one account of his conversation with the mother of a victim who had found out what was going on, he said 'I wish I were dead'. I'll bet he did. He deserves to be punished for his crimes - and he needs our prayers. I, for one, believe that our Lord wants him to have them. Certainly his victims need - and deserve - our prayers; but from a Christian perspective, he is worse off than they are.

As for Coach Paterno, the only way that I can see him now is as a good and decent man who made a bad judgment with tragic consequences in a moment of weakness. Consider the following:

* Mr. Sanduskey had worked for Mr. Paterno for almost 30 years - 30 years! and as far as we know, there was no knowledge on Coach P's part of Mr. Sanduskey's misdeeds. I'm fairly confident that Mr. Paterno thought he knew him well. I can only imagine the shock, the incredulity, at being told something like this about someone you considered a trusted friend.

* As best I can tell, when you're accused of pedophilia, the court of law may hold you innocent util proven guilty, but you're guilty until proven innocent in the public eye, and even then you may never clear your name. I'm old enough to remember former Sec. of Labor Ray Donovan's 'What office do I go to to get my reputation back?'. When someone accuses a trusted colleague of something like this, how can the thought that your response may push them into something that they may never fully recover from, whether innocent or guilty, not affect your thinking?

* For additional perspective, see the book 'sway - the irresistible pull of irrational behavior' by Ori and Rom Brafman. The authors make a compelling case for the inordinate influence exerted by a nexus of commitment and fear of loss on the judgment of all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. For example, a pilot with a flawless record, in charge of safety for his airline, when faced with a ticking clock and pending deadlines, makes a split-second decision and gambles unsuccessfully with the lives of several hundred passengers. Was the pilot a bad man? Probably not - he just couldn't process the data objectively under the circumstances, and the results were disastrous. Not that it excuses the outcome - but was there anyone at Penn State more committed, or with more to lose, than Mr. Paterno?

One very bad decision - especially one made in the context in which Coach Paterno apparently made his - doesn't negate a good man's life of service. I think it does warrant his removal as coach, but it certainly doesn't merit the vilification that he's received at too many hands. What did he do to his critics?

The media will make pronouncements - with no real regard for justice. The courts will issue judgments - more or less consistent with justice. In the end, God will proclaim judgment - perfectly. May He have mercy on us all, and may we all learn something from this.
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written by Martin Cothran, November 16, 2011
Brad,
You start this post by asking, “The questions upon which Coach Paterno’s fate (and that of various others at Penn State) has rested are familiar: What and when did he learn about Sandusky’s crimes?” You then go on to list things that Sandusky did, implying that Paterno must have known something about it. But in fact you give no evidence that Paterno knew of any of this. You just assume it. That is not an inference: that’s a leap in logic.
In contrast, the people we know were aware of Sandusky’s behavior were the police (you know, the people Paterno had a moral obligation to inform). They are the ones who conducted the 1998 investigation. What they found in that investigation was not explicitly incriminating, but it was, at a minimum, disturbing and enough to justify keeping an eye on the man. And yet they apparently just let it go.
You ask, “If a neighbor came to you to say another neighbor was raping a boy in your garage, would you call your contractor? No. You'd call the cops.” That analogy fails on a number of counts, one of which is that the incident at penn state was over by the time it was reported to paterno. It had already happened. IN addition, My contractor is not my employer. And There is no state law which requires my contractor to report to the cops is his employee reports it to him. In Pennsylvania, however, the process the laws sets up with one’s employer is clear and explicit (whatever we think of its sufficiency): If you are not the head of the institution or the program, you are asked to report it to your supervisor. Your supervisor assesses the charge and reports it up the chain of command. The head of the institution is the one who reports to the police.
We have no idea what Paterno’s mentality was at the time. He may very well have expected his supervisors to do what they were supposed to do under the law, as he had done in reporting it to his supervisor, in which case the process would have worked. We simply don’t know.
The lynch mob mentality that has taken over in the media on this issue asks us to read back into the past what we now know about Sandusky. Until someone comes up with some evidence as to what Paterno knew and when he knew it, it contributes little to the case against Paterno to simply recount what we now know. To just list what Sandusky did and and when he did it does little to establish that Paterno knew about it. It does not constitute a logical inference: it is engaging in speculation.
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written by Brad Miner, November 16, 2011
Mr. Cothran: Paterno knew of the rape in 2002. It's now 2011. Do you really believe he never saw Sandusky during those nine years — that is, saw a man walking free whom he (Paterno) knew should be in prison? Or do you believe Paterno didn't credit McQueary's report? It is amazing to me how many Penn State supporters fall back on legalistic nitpicking in a situation that cries our for a simple, definitive moral response.
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written by Martin Cothran, November 16, 2011
Brad,

The simple answer to your question is that we don't know what Paterno's knowledge of Sandusky's doings was after Sandusky's retirement in 1999. I would be willing to wager you do not either. Nor do we know one way or another what conversations may have taken place between Paterno and the administration. That, undoubtedly, will come out in the legal proceedings. Given Paterno's lifetime of contributions to his players--both in football and academically--over the many years he has served at Penn State, I'm willing to reserve judgment until we actually know the facts. That doesn't go down will with the mob that has now gathered, but, whatever Paterno's simple, definitive moral response should have been, I know what mine is a situation in which I don't know all the facts.

By the way, would you use this same reasoning when it comes to Cardinal Ratzinger's culpability in the priest sex abuse scandal? If so, do you think he should step down?
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written by Martin Cothran, November 16, 2011
Brad,

By the way, I'm not arguing that Paterno bears no culpability in all this. My argument is over the level of culpability given what he may or may not have known and been able to assume at the time, as well as a few other factors. All I am saying is that what we know now is an insufficient basis to say that the level of culpability warranted his firing, as opposed to waiting until an investigation clarifies what actually happened.

What bothers me is the way the media is playing this, Paterno is being lumped with Sandusky, as if there was some kind of equivalence in the their culpability.
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written by Brad Miner, November 17, 2011
Mr. Cothran: Paterno's culpability hardly rises to the level of Sandusky's, but it is — in my opinion (I'm no lawyer) — the same as McQueary's, the AD's, and anybody else who believed it appropriate simply to kick the can down the road. As we've seen over the past several days, more information is coming out that may (or may not) make clearer circumstances between 1998 and the convening of the grand jury. Perhaps it's time to cease speculation. We know now that a serious investigation is underway, and it's doubtful anything will derail it; that any fact will hereafter be suppressed. That's the hope anyway.
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written by JM, November 30, 2011
"By the way, would you use this same reasoning when it comes to Cardinal Ratzinger's culpability in the priest sex abuse scandal? If so, do you think he should step down?"

This is a good point. Look at JPII, who presided over a Church with a serious scandal... He just got raised to the altar, but questions about him are written of as from crazy Traddies. He was not only a good man, but a Saint, even if he preferred not to know or do anything about reports of priests he simply "could not" believe.

Seems like a double standard of indignation.

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